tv American History TV CSPAN November 30, 2014 11:46pm-11:59pm EST
in that respect, this has been a tremendously expensive panel for me because i now have to read the book and spend even more time. >> not tremendously expensive. it is reasonably priced. [laughter] >> the reason people do not celebrate history books is that they are so big. this is very friendly and readable. and so you can properly celebrate it we have them for sale right outside of this room and andrew would be happy to sign them. it is your first book, right? >> it is my first book. >> the celebration is well earned. thank you for making this such a deep conversation and andrew, i know that a lot of us in the room are excited to read the book and we hope that there are many occasions to deal with these issues again. congratulations and please come join the celebration in the next room. [applause]
i would like you to meet him. i think he is an interesting fellow. watch him shaving, for instance. what is so unusual about that? charlie has no hands, no hands except for those genius substitutes. and he does things just as casually as any other man. stroking his face like mine with a razor like i have. before he woke up, he did everything like i do. these things are not difficult for charlie. quite a few men have barbers shave them, but the majority do it themselves and charlie has patterned his life after every man. he maintains that if you think normally, there is no reason why you should not act normally. charlie can get by without the use of his hands without other people helping him. charlie prefers to be independent.
it has never occurred to him before world war i to have somebody else brush and comb his hair. after a grenade exploded and blew his hands off in france, he figured there still was not anyone living who would handle mcgonegal that are then mcgonegal -- better than mcgonegal. tying his shoelaces does not bother him either. he does it about seven seconds slower than me, which gives me time to go and catch the bus. but every time i and -- time i caught -- time i tie them, mine come undone. charlie ties them so they can stick. when he was about three, charlie learned how to dress himself. after the war, the habit persisted.
he does it alone from the first sock to the final tilt of his hat. the vest, instead of buttoning it up in a regular way, handles differently with hooks. charlie can button but hooks do it better. this saves time. he wears a vest like people did in the past when people talked about dillinger and the model t. there is no magic in charlie stec stare. controls lead from the artificial extremities to the shoulders and manipulation of the shoulder muscles operates the hooks. he can wind that watch as easily as he can throw a baseball. next to his wallet. then his glasses. he polished them when he took them off last night.
finally his coat. and if there were some floss on the panel he would pick it off. a pencil in the wrong pocket? back it goes into the right one. he does all these things as automatically as you would turn a doorknob. feeding himself is a lifetime habit he was determined to hang onto when he came back from france. in the hospital and for a time afterwards, he felt uncomfortable being fed by someone else. the first thing he wanted to master was the knack of eating. watch him at breakfast and see how well he succeeds. you know it is mcgonegal's boast that it was not an inch of mcgonegal's waistline that he did not put their himself.
one or two companies manufacturers special knives and forks and coffee cups designed for such cases as charlie. but he does not know where to buy them and he never bothered to find out. he manages very well at the same utensil that he can find in a restaurant. for a while, during what really called his amateur days, it seemed to take him all day to eat. but that did not last long there. you can see him wolf down on a plate, especially when it is a porterhouse steak, medium rare. you notice that sometimes he makes adjustments before certain operations? well these are to change the width, or the tension, or the angle. charlie can still remember when
wanting a smoke and getting the aid of a nurse or a man with a wounded leg in the adjoining ot.gh lying in the hospital and thinking and wondering and planning for the future, a fellow somehow needed a cigarette more than he used to. smoking was the next thing he had gone after. nowadays the only difficulty he has with cigarettes is staying away from them. well, well, the dodgers win a double header, how about that? six players and the manager were yanked from yesterday's game. off to work! and here is another neighbor of mine, walter and tone of its -- walter antonowiz.
can i drop you off someplace? no thank you i prefer walking. suit yourself, walter. what i like about this car, it is a stock model and no gadgets. ignition, starter. put it into gear. then away! oh i forgot to mention about walter, who likes to walk. he lost them those legs in the other war. charlie has a good job. a better job than most men. by the way, he never learned to type until he came out of the hospital. needless to say he uses a standard machine with a standard keyboard. oh, i forgot the address, but
joe morgan will not, and that means a phone call. what is joe's number? i can never remember it. better look it up! m. m a, o. here we are, joseph morgan. atwater nine. everyday things done with every day in ease. how long does it take a man who has lost a hand or two hands to resume his place in the scheme of normal living?
now you may have heard that anything can be masked in time. that a man practicing four hours a day for six years can learn to throw a boomerang and catch it at the end of its circular flight. after four hours practice a day for let's say five years, a man can hurl a spear and pierce another man's heart. so you may think it took charlie, who had so much more to learn, ever since world war i, to overcome the loss of his hands, to master the normal aspirations of signing his name with a flourish, charles c. mcgonegal. how long? well let's hear what he has to say about that. >> well, it took about three months. i would not say it was as easy as then as it is today. it took a little time to learn. that about three month after i
was discharged from walter reed hospital, i was a traveling salesman and completely independent and able to make my way. you will pick up things as you go along, it is a matter of learning. most importantly, it is a question of wanting to learn. for instance, in 1928, i was encouraged to take up flying as a hobby. after 15 hours, i went solo. i took a special course and acrobatics. now i have over 300 hours flying time. i have a productive job. and a happy marriage. i wife and i have two boys. one of my boys is in the navy now. the loss of my arms has not been nearly the loss i thought it would be at first. with these arms, i can do practically anything anyone can do. there is no reason in the world you fellows cannot do the same.
>> my neighbor has none of the characteristics of a superman. he is a man who lived normally before the war and set himself no goal but to live normally after it. he succeeded because he had patience. he had faith in himself, and he knew it could be done. it took a little while. but he got there. >> ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> coming up next, project one way -- project runway cohost discussed first ladies fashion choices in how they